Japan’s cruise ship evacuees to be observed for next few weeks


NEW DELHI: The health ministry on Thursday said 124 evacuees who were stranded in coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess Cruise ship in Japan’s Yokohama have been quarantined at the army camp in Manesar and will be under observation for the next few weeks.

An Air India flight brought back the evacuees earlier this morning, of which 119 are Indian citizens and foreign nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru. In addition, an Indian Air Force (IAF) flight evacuated 112 persons from China’s Wuhan, the starting point of the Covid-19, commonly known as coronavirus, outbreak.

The IAF flight that also landed earlier today in New Delhi included 76 Indian citizens and 36 nationals from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, China, South Africa, the US and Madagascar.

“The evacuees have reached India today. While the evacuees from Japan will be quarantined at the army camp at Manesar, those from Wuhan shall be housed at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) facility at Chhawla,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said.

“Out of the 138 Indian nationals onboard cruise ship Diamond Princess, 119 out of 122 who were tested and found negative as per latest Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test have been brought back as three Indian nationals opted not to come back,” the minister said.

Remaining 16 are quarantined and being treated in Japan. “The government of India, as an expression of solidarity with Chinese people at this difficult time, has also sent a consignment of 15 tonnes of Indian Medical Relief for COVID-19 to Wuhan, China,” he said.

The government said it has advised avoiding all non-essential travel to Singapore, Republic of Korea, Iran and Italy in view of the evolving global situation stemming from the spread of COVID-19. People coming from Korea, Iran and Italy or those who have such travel history since 10 February will be quarantined for 14 days on arrival to India.

“Senior officers of the health ministry are visiting states to assess their preparedness for surveillance and management of COVID-19. These visits shall ensure strengthening of the state surveillance machinery and to address their concerns, if any. A checklist is provided to them for compliance; they will submit the report by 2 March,” said Harsh Vardhan.

India has stepped up its preparedness to prevent any entry of the virus in the country. According to the government, 482,927 passengers have been screened from 4,787 flights so far. Screening at 21 Airports, 12 major seaports, 65 minor seaports and land crossings particularly bordering Nepal is underway. Passengers are also monitored under community surveillance through Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) network on a daily basis. A total of 23,531 passengers are currently under community surveillance through IDSP.

Besides, of the 2,836 samples that were tested, 2,830 were found negative, three samples were positive in Kerala but have recovered and discharged. Three are still undergoing test.





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